This week I'd like to share a profound excerpt teaching from My Dearest Brother in Christ on Gratitude. Without his wise counsel the last 20 of my life would have been less enlightened.
“As disciples of Christ, we are commanded to...“sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving,”...
I have often wondered how we can be thankful in all things. What do we have to be grateful for when we feel, for whatever reason, that our world is falling apart? I have frequently struggled to “[give] thanks always for all things unto God” partly because understanding what it means to be grateful in all circumstances is an ongoing process.
“Perhaps focusing on what we are grateful for is the wrong approach. It is difficult to develop a spirit of gratitude if our thankfulness is only proportional to the number of blessings we can count.” While it is important to frequently “count [our] many blessings,” the Lord expects us to be just as thankful in our times of trial as in our times of ease. Most of the scriptural references do not speak of being grateful for things but rather suggest an overall spirit of gratitude.
Quoting an sister of faith:
"....We need to look at gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation. Instead of being grateful for things, we should focus on being grateful in our circumstances – whatever they may be.
Gratitude isn’t a way to ignore our problems or a quick fix for deep sorrow. Gratitude comes from actively remembering God and His goodness. It’s having eyes to see how He has worked in my life. It doesn’t come in the absence of pain; rather, pain can bring my need for the Savior into focus, and gratitude flows from remembering His grace and mercy to me in my hour of need.
It helps me to think of the phrase “I’m grateful for trials” as only part of the sentence—the full sentence is “I’m grateful for the opportunities for growth that have come through my trials. I’m grateful for the ways I’ve seen God at work in my life because of those circumstances.”
I don’t think that anyone would say, “Yes, I would like to lose ___________ [fill in the blank with job, loved ones, home, health, security, relationships, and anything else that has value in life].” I don’t think the people who lost everything in natural disasters this year were grateful when they saw the hurricane, fire, or earthquake coming toward them."
That's what our trials are meant to be: continual refining influences in our lives that help shape us into the people that God wants us to be.
In speaking of the Lord's covenant people, Isaiah quotes the Lord as saying:
Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
Zechariah says it thus:
And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.
As we approach the Easter season this month. Maybe it is a good time to place a new refined attitude of Gratitude in daily or weekly life. I know, I need to be more disciplined in doing so.
Music is courtesy Dierks Bentley, with Hold The Light from the soundtrack of the film Only The Brave.
If you're interested, you can find Andrew's books on Amazon.
Wise words, Barbara. Sending love and prayers.ReplyDelete
Paula, thank you for the love and prayers. I am sharing the encouraging response with my long time brother in ChristDelete
Such wisdom! I started doing my Sunday Blessings post on my blog so I can be more mindful of the blessings/thanksgivings I have in life. It truly does shift my perspective. Praying for you both.ReplyDelete
Tara, good idea and yes it does. I learned this concept in the 70s through Dr. Robert Schueller and Norman Vincent Peale. The Power of Positive Thinking. Although I'm not 100% mindful, most days operate on the Positive side of life.Delete
Barb, this is such a beautiful post. I need to re-read it when I'm more awake. :) I've gone round and round with trying to figure out how to keep a spirit of gratitude. We do keep a "Gift List" with our sons. In part to teach the to look for the things to be thankful for in their days. Gratitude is a practice, a deliberate choosing, to see God in the midst of our days . . . be they good or hard.ReplyDelete
God is teaching me to be grateful in some of the hard things we've walked through recently. Sometimes that gratitude comes in thankfulness things weren't worse than they already were (when our son got hit in the mouth with a baseball recently, things could have been so much worse). But, I'm rambling.
This resonated with me: "That's what our trials are meant to be: continual refining influences in our lives that help shape us into the people that God wants us to be." Thank you for sharing your wisdom!!
Jeanne, no you weren't rambling. It is true to be grateful for the blessings of protection. Angels are assigned to us, when prayer is invoked their presence is called to action.Delete
My Mom was Good influence regarding Gratitude, although I'm not sure she thought of it that way. She introduced the Power of Positive Thinking into our lives in the 70s but ironically enough she was doing this before it was popular. Mom used nature as a training tool. She caused us to pause and acknowledge God's creation and turn what could have been a negative day into an Awe-struck day. Showing us that there are bad moments but not entirely bad days.
Amen. So, so true.ReplyDelete
Beth. Thank you. I am passing on some comment to my Brother in Christ. As we all need uplifting moments.Delete
Refiner's Fire. The two of you have been in it for a very long time. xo Love & Prayers.ReplyDelete
Susan, Refiner's fire is true. I wonder when we will be finally shaped. Lol.Delete
Hi Barbara - This is true ... and can be oh so difficult --.'That's what our trials are meant to be: continual refining influences in our lives that help shape us into the people that God wants us to be.'ReplyDelete
Best to you guys this weekend ...
Linda, when Solomon Asks for Wisdom, he was asking to place knowledge into action. It is why God was so pleased by Solomon's request.Delete
Beautiful writing with a beautiful message.ReplyDelete
Janet, thank you. I'm glad you found truth in my Brother's knowledge. The opportunity is to place it in action which is the Wisdom that well should seek.Delete
people often confuse what gratitude is I think. Gratitude is a chosen state of being. well written.ReplyDelete
Annette, it is true gratitude is the daily action of being thankful. I am passing on the encouraging responses to my Brother in Christ.Delete
Beautiful Barbara. Sending prayers.ReplyDelete
Mary, thank you. I found great knowledge in my Brother in Christ's words. Thank you for the prayers, they are our daily protection.Delete
O to have a spirit and heart of gratitude in all circumstances. Yep, always working on that every day here... with God's help as He refines me in all aspects of my life. Great words, Barbara! ♥ReplyDelete
Prayers to both of you as always!
Diana, I'm thankful the words gave confirmation and encouragement. I'm passing on the encouraging words to my Brother in Christ as we all need uplifting moments.Delete
Those who live life through a lense of gratitude have found one of the profound secrets of 'being.' This is a difficult subject because it seems like a contradiction in terms when life churns out sorrow upon sorrow. Being closeted in gratitude is higher living, above the obstacles and embracing of the Lord despite it all--when everything has gone to pot around us. I don't think it's as much about circumstances as it is about the inner soul. In Christ, we can have a grateful heart. It is one of those mysteries that doesn't make much earthly sense but makes a lot of other-worldly sense. Thanks, Barbara.ReplyDelete
Norman, I like you summation. Gratitude is the action of being thankful.Delete
Norma, sorry for the auto correct error.Delete
I really like what you say about a spirit of gratitude. That's a great way to explain it. Going to think on that. Thank you :)ReplyDelete
Somer, I am thankful you found knowledge in my Brother in Christ words. I prayer the action of Gratitude becomes a daily response.Delete
Beautiful words. To see trials as "continual refining influences in our lives that help shape us into the people that God wants us to be" is a gift borne of wisdom in suffering -- not an easy lesson, but a very worthwhile one. Thank you and God bless you and Andrew.ReplyDelete
Jeannie, I am thankful you found knowledge in the words of my Brother in Christ. Action of knowledge is the Refiner's Fire.Delete
"Gratitude comes from actively remembering God and His goodness."ReplyDelete
Amen. Thank you for this reminder.
Marie, I pray Gratitude becomes a daily response.Delete
Loved this. So true.ReplyDelete
Betsy, I am thankful you found knowledge in my Brother in Christ's words. I am passing on the encouraging words, a we all need uplifting moments.Delete
Very, very wise words. Thank you for being real, Barbara. You are a refreshing presence. This especially rings true to me: "It doesn’t come in the absence of pain; rather, pain can bring my need for the Savior into focus, and gratitude flows from remembering His grace and mercy to me in my hour of need."ReplyDelete
No, it's not the absence of tears, but His peace and comfort entering them. Sending you and Andrew much love.
Anna, thank you for your prayers and encouragement.Delete
We were not promised a rose garden without thorns. We're warned, if they persecute me they will also persecute you. Bit also we were promised I am with you always. We are to bask in His Glory despite the world's flaws.
Wow, Barbara! So profound and helpful! I am facing a situation currently that tests my ability to be grateful, but your words today bring greater perspective. Thanks so much and know that I'm continuing to pray for you and Andrew! We, as a community, are thankful for the two of you!ReplyDelete
Beth, I will ask my portion of God's spirit to pray for your need. For He knows the solution better than I.ReplyDelete
Barbara, I'm so thankful for your words. You've taken my understanding of gratitude deeper.ReplyDelete
I'm praying for you both.
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